US needs a single standard for fuel efficiency: EPA chief

Jul 26, 2018, 10:31
US needs a single standard for fuel efficiency: EPA chief

In May, California, 16 other states and the District of Columbia filed a federal suit aiming to preserve fuel economy standards expected to produce cleaner cars of the next decade.

Although the proposal will outline other options, the administration will put its weight behind the dramatic overhaul, including the revocation of California's cherished authority, the people said.

The proposal is still under review, but the core elements aren't expected to change, the sources said. Once the agencies formally unveil the proposal, the public will have a chance to weigh in, with those comments used to develop a final rule that could be implemented as soon as the end of the year.

"This move by President Trump will not only gut federal clean air standards, [but also] this unprecedented attack on state emissions standards will serve to muzzle state leadership on clean automobile standards", she said.

On Tuesday, at least one industry insider said the Trump administration may stop short of fully revoking California's authority to set emissions standards and defer a decision until later. Those standards called for roughly doubling by 2025 the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles sold in the United States to about 50 miles (80 km) per gallon - something the Trump administration has called too onerous for the auto industry but which proponents said could help spur innovation in clean technologies. In the run-up to the mid-term elections in November, the Trump administration is expected to argue that the rule change will "reduce traffic fatalities by making it cheaper for drivers to replace older, less-safe cars, while paring sticker prices for new vehicles even if motorists have to spend more for gasoline".

Shortly after President Trump's election, an auto industry lobbying group sent him a letter asking for more flexibility in the fuel-mileage program.

Caught somewhere in the middle are automakers, who in recent months have stressed they would not support freezing the federal targets and want Washington and Sacramento to continue linking their vehicle efficiency goals.

This is wild. California is among the toughest auto emissions regulators in the country.

Detractors say the scheme is an infringement on states' rights and bad for Americans' health. Meanwhile, California has announced that the state plans to take legal action to fight the intrusion into their state politics.

"One of the reasons they've been somewhat quiet is because they're torn", said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and KBB.com, speaking of the vehicle companies. But instead of pursuing a deal, the plan spearheaded by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency will attempt to eliminate or override California's emissions authority and force the state to adopt less-stringent federal pollution standards.

"California's not just going to roll over", he said. "It's nutty it's been allowed to develop". The Bush administration sued, arguing that the move would require tightening fuel-economy standards, which were under federal control.

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